Injunction Against Norteno Gang in Reedley

July 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Within the next few days, close to 150 gang members in Reedley will no longer be able to hang out together. A judge signed off Tuesday on an injunction targeting one especially violent gang. On the east side of Reedley red is a popular color, gang members are a common sight, and a piece of paper will change the way the neighborhood is run.

Sergeant Hector Aleman knows many gang members by name. He's patrolled here for 10 years. With the new order now in place, he has more authority to take action for things he wasn't able to enforce before.

"We're going to be able to make arrests and stop the problem at least for that day, at least for that part of the day by disrupting the lives of the gang members as opposed to having the gang members disrupt the lives of the community," said Sgt. Aleman.

Anita Betancourt has lived in what's become a danger zone for three decades. It hasn't always been. The councilwoman has watched the gang infestation grow around her.

Anita Betancourt said, "And they are recruiting the smaller ones. Like I tell you we were sitting right here in the front and he was walking and showing a little kid how to walk you know how to walk. And I said oh my goodness you know. Right here in front so I see them."

We tried to talk with several gang members to ask them how this court order will affect their lifestyle. No one wanted to talk. In fact, some said we were in the wrong neighborhood.

The designated safety zone stretches from Dinuba Avenue to Buttonwillow, Springfield and East Avenues.

It's the 6th injunction granted in Fresno County and the district attorney's office says gang members in Reedley may want to re-think causing trouble.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Greg Anderson said, "There are no holds barred against these gangs. If you violate these injunctions, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. And you will go to jail."

Neighbors, like Betancourt hope children and families will again feel free. Free of the violence that has trapped many in their own homes for too long.

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